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October 6, 1989

Understanding Psychotherapy: The Science, Behind the Art

JAMA. 1989;262(13):1864-1865. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430130140054

It is a pleasure reviewing Understanding Psychotherapy by Michael Franz Basch for several reasons, but perhaps the most important one is that it lives up to its title both from a technical and a pragmatic standpoint.

The book, consisting of 10 chapters and a brief epilogue, begins with the goal of psychotherapy, which to the author is the concept of the self-image and the search for competence. It continues through the developmental spiral in which the author weaves the traditional Freudian psychoanalytic thinking into a network containing some of his own ideas and descriptions. Once having established this framework, Dr Basch continues with a series of excellent case vignettes, running the gamut from nonpsychotic diagnostic categories, such as dysthymic reaction, to an almost classical psychoneurosis, now subsumed under anxiety disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Third Edition Revised.

What I find particularly useful is the method